Posts Tagged ‘behind the scenes’

Moshe Zusman’s ‘Perfect Venue Lighting’ Now Available on DVD

They say to err is human, but when it comes to wedding photography and similar one-time-only events, to err can be costly, not to mention painful to explain to your client. Moshe Zusman is a Washington DC-based photographer with a specialty in photographing weddings and special events.

He’s also a repeat winner of the WeddingWire Brides Choice Award, and his work has appeared in numerous publications including People Magazine and Rangefinder Magazine, as well as on Fox5’s morning TV show. Moshe is also an instructor at Boston University’s Center for Digital Imaging Arts and he runs an annual Master Class Workshop at WPPI.


As a photographer, Moshe knows his stuff, and he’s also made his share of mistakes (as have the rest of us), but he’s also learned from his misses and near misses and has channeled these lessons into a thoughtfully informative DVD titled ‘Perfect Venue Lighting’.  (Scroll down to see Trailer.)

Wedding Photography Washington DC MD VA Fashion Fusion Edgy Styl

Extremely personal in real life as well as on screen, Zusman begins the presentation by showing viewers shortcomings of his earlier work, mostly having to do with mixed light sources, dark backgrounds, uneven exposures and flash fall-off, and other issues we’ve all experienced in one form or another.

Wedding Photography Washington DC MD VA Fashion Fusion Edgy Styl

The bottom line for Zusman’s philosophy is that “lighting is everything”, and the first thing he does at an event is assess the majority light sources and balances his lights accordingly. Are there large windows? A skylight? A large source of tungsten light, or even fluorescents? How high are the ceilings? Is there a balcony where we can place lights and PocketWizard radios?

He then goes on to explain each of these issues in terms of why they happen and how to correct the problem using simple, easy-to-manage lighting accessories, including the heart of his camera and lighting system, his PocketWizard Plus III radio triggers (he swears by them!).

Zusman prefers PocketWizard wireless triggers over Canon’s wireless triggering system because PocketWizard triggers are universal – they can be used with flashes from all manufacturers. If need be, he can even use flashes from several manufacturers in the same set-up with zero compatibility issues.

As for lighting, Zusman shows how you can light a large venue using a battery of compact Speedlites synced to PocketWizard Plus III radios and mounted onto 12’ cushioned light stands using Speedlite clamps. (He even demonstrates why you don’t want to have your gear mounted on non-cushioned stands.)

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Moshe goes on to explain how you can get a large swath of even, relatively shadowless light over a wide area by placing the lights far from the action and at a higher angle rather than up close to the action.

Equally valuable is how he explains and demonstrates the easiest way to correct for mixed lighting scenarios without having to gel a thousand chandeliers. (Spoiler alert – You gel the Speedlites with a color correction filter that will change the flash’s 5500°K Daylight white balance to whatever the white balance is of the room’s dominant light source.)

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Moshe Zusman’s easy-to-understand and execute shooting tips, which can be readily applied at conventions, parties, and other events, large or small, teach you how to bring studio lighting concept into large public venues and do it right.

“The beauty of this setup is its simplicity – I can fit all the gear I use inside a small carry-on size Pelican case and take it anywhere I need to photograph an event. The setup is simple – with tall light stands, any speedlite of your choice and a PocketWizard  triggering system – you’re all set!


Perfect Venue Lighting – Moshe Zusman Photography Workshops – Trailer from Moshe Zusman on Vimeo.

To learn more about or purchase a copy of Moshe Zusman’s ‘Perfect Venue Lighting’ DVD visit Moshe’s website.

Note – Moshe Zusman’s ‘Perfect Venue Lighting’ DVD is also available through B&H Photo.

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Dylan Coulter Photographed These Olympians Back in July

THE MAKING OF THE CITI SOCHI WINTER OLYMPIC CAMPAIGN PHOTO SHOOTClick on link for a Behind the Scenes look at the photo shoot.

Brooklyn-based photographer Dylan Coulter has made a name for himself creating iconic portraits of athletes, models, and other notables. For the past two years he has also been the person responsible for photographing the Citibank Winter Olympic Teams (last year he shot the London-bound teams, this year the Sochi-bound teams), a position he takes great pride in. “It was a real honor to be called back for a second year” says Dylan, and you can tell by the tone in his voice, he means it.


Evan Lysacek – 2010 Olympic Gold Medalist – Figure Skating © Dylan Coulter

Unlike most Olympic photographers who had to journey to Sochi to earn their paychecks, Dylan Coulter had to make his magic in a four day window of time about seven months earlier in the New York metropolitan area. His original plan was to take the athletes to venues that at the very least approximated the appearance of the sports each of the athletes excelled at, but due to the logistics of shooting the entire team in a short window of time, that idea was nixed. So it was off to the studio.


Billy Demong – 2010 Olympic Gold Medalist – Nordic Combined © Dylan Coulter

Rather than build elaborate sets or shoot against backdrops that somehow suggest the type of sports the athletes participate in, Dylan decided to go bare-bones by shooting each of them against white backgrounds. Some images with little more than strips of gaffers tape on the floor for positioning purposes. Dylan also shot portraits of each of the athletes close-up and full-body for other applications in the Citibank campaign.


Dan Jensen – 1994 Olympic Gold Medalist – Speed Skating © Dylan Coulter

Perhaps the strongest and most difficult photographs he captured were the simulated multiple exposure sequences, a style he originated on a project for ESPN Magazine. Unlike traditional multiple exposure pictures in which a single movement is captured at set intervals on the same exposure, Coulter’s simulated multiple exposure sequences are made up of individual posed images that are lit and composed one at a time and pieced together in post production.

Ted Ligety - 2014 Olympic Gold Medalist - Alpine Skiing  © Dylan Coulter

Ted Ligety – 2014 Olympic Gold Medalist – Alpine Skiing © Dylan Coulter

If it seems like a demandingly complex workflow, you’re right, but the final images are stunningly perfect at each stage of the final photograph. “Getting the form right was a big challenge, and the athletes were real troopers and performed as professionals” as they went through their paces, often repeatedly. The athletes also served as consultants in a sense when they reviewed the images, making sure each frame captured the proper form, attitude, and body English.


Julie Chu – 2002, 2010, 2014 Olympic Silver Medalist – Women’s Ice Hockey – © Dylan Coulter

Dylan Coulter views the athletes he was hired to photograph like he views other photographers and others who practice crafts that require training and discipline, “It’s always exciting to see the differences in form between athletes, the way they run, pitch, serve a ball, there side arms, overhand, and I try to represent each of these professional athletes authentically.”


Julie Chu – 2002, 2010, 2014 Olympic Silver Medalist – Women’s Ice Hockey – © Dylan Coulter

“My PocketWizard Plus III remote triggers were instrumental in getting me through this assignment. They didn’t only trigger the lights, but in several shots they triggered an overhead camera we rigged for some birds-eye view photographs we shot. I know it’s been said before, but being able to work wirelessly makes life so much easier.”

To see more of Dylan Coulter’s photographic work visit his website or Facebook page.

All images, videos, and quotes in this post are used with permission and © Dylan Coulter, all rights reserved; story is ©PocketWizard. Please respect and support photographers’ rights. Feel free to link to this blog post, but please do not replicate or repost elsewhere without written permission.

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Seth Hancock Spends 10-Minutes with a Stranger

Seth-Hancock-Self-PortraitWhen photographer Seth Hancock and his wife decided to move from Los Angeles to New York they agreed she would pack up their belongings (and the dog) and take the express route cross country so she could get their new digs in order while he followed up on a personal photography project he had been thinking about for the prior three years. Specifically, Seth had a hankering to take a cross-country jaunt photographing random strangers along the way. Sure it’s been done before, but Seth’s project had a set of parameters that made it rather unique.

The ’10 Minutes With a Stranger’ project was a 47-day trip (original estimate 15 days… tops), in which Hancock encountered over 150 strangers, engaged them in conversation for 10 minutes while figuring out how to make an equally engaging portrait of his newest friend. Lastly – and this is where he connects the dots between himself, his subject, and the viewer, he had each of them write something personal about themselves in a journal he carried for that very purpose.

The ground rules for the journal entry were that the entries had to be truthful, honest, no longer than a single page, written in first-person, and be specifically about themselves. ‘Fortune Cookie’ or ‘Yearbook’ responses, as well as ‘innocuous, blasé, wistful, or disingenuous’ responses would not be accepted. The results of Seth’s efforts and execution of ’10 Minutes with a Stranger’ are remarkable to say the least.

Kevin, Mechanic, Deluth, Mn

Kevin, Mechanic, Duluth, MN


In preparation for the trip Seth packed two cases of Elinchrom Rangers, stands, umbrellas and cables for lighting his subjects. It didn’t take more than his first day out to realize there was no way he could make an honest connection with his subjects, gain their trust, and make a worthwhile portrait if he also had to deal with the distractions of setting up a hit-and-run portrait studio.

Christina, USAF, Bristow Va

Christina, USAF, Bristow, VA


Jim, Cider Maker, Minneapolis, MN


Rather than waste precious time futzing with studio lights, he mounted a  MiniTT1 Transmitter onto his Nikon D3s, FlexTT5 Transceivers onto his SB-800 Speedlights with Lumiquest Big Bounce diffusers, and he was good-to-go.

Though he earlier tried syncing his camera and flash using a TTL sync cord, he found the length of the cord greatly impeded his ability to get the shots he saw in his mind’s eye. The only way he could get it right was to go wireless. ‘I couldn’t have done it without my PocketWizard wireless triggering system. They literally unchained me.”

Joey Z, Carpenter, Buffalo NY

Joey Z, Carpenter, Buffalo, NY


Arlene, Freelance Writer, Minot ND

Arlene, Freelance Writer, Minot, ND


One aspect of going wireless that appealed to Seth’s framing and composition was the ability to quickly change the position of the Speedlight while handholding it off to the side or from above. Other times he would stand the Speedlight on a table or ledge, using the flat bottom surface of the FlexTT5 Transceiver as a table stand for the Speedlight. And in a few shots, his subject is actually holding the Speedlight in their hand, which is about as cooperative as a stranger can get when you’re taking their portrait.

Andrea the Giant, Pro Wrestler, Salt Lake City UT

Andrea the Giant, Pro Wrestler, Salt Lake City, UT


Something Seth had no control over was when and where he would encounter his next subject, which meant he was often shooting under contrasty midday sunlight. Here, too, his PocketWizard radios made his day by enabling him to shoot at wider, portrait-appropriate apertures and correspondingly faster shutter speeds under the brightest of lighting conditions using the HSS/Auto-FP Sync function of his PocketWizard/Speedlight portrait lighting system.

Seth makes a point of noting his PocketWizard triggering system transmits iTTL information, which is critical when shooting in such narrow time parameters.  While there were several occasions when he synced with his Speedlight in Manual Mode, there were equally as many occasions when he needed to be able to pump anywhere up to three stops of additional light onto their faces in order to make the person stand out from the background without having to compromise other visual elements in the picture.

For Seth Hancock, PocketWizard radio triggers are so much more than a Speedlight accessory, they are creative tools unto themselves.

To see more of Seth Hancock’s work visit the following links:

Portfolio –

Twitter –

Facebook for 10 Minutes with a Stranger –

Seth Hancock’s Facebook Page –

All images, videos, and quotes in this post are used with permission and © Seth Hancock, all rights reserved; story is ©PocketWizard. Please respect and support photographers’ rights. Feel free to link to this blog post, but please do not replicate or repost elsewhere without written permission.

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Simon Mackney’s 13-hour day with the British Bobsleigh Team

crop_380-1384962741-2_simonmackneyHere’s a behind the scenes video of Simon Mackney using Plus III Transceivers to photograph the British Bobsleigh team as well as a written account in Simon Mackney’s own words.  Mackney is professional photographer based out of Derbyshire, UK.

“The coach of the Great Britain Bobsleigh team came to us because they wanted images that weren’t your standard boring, normal promotional images.  They already had plenty of those and they were looking for something different.  So we came up with the idea of shooting the athletes with a super hero, film poster kind of style in mind.  We wanted a strong, confident, proud, inspirational, dark, edgy, moody style/look.

The images will be used for a variety of promotional pieces leading up to and during the 2014 Olympics in Sochi.  We used PocketWizard Plus III radios with a Paul C. Buff Einstein E640 studio fast flash duration flash units.  With the combination of the PocketWizard radios, the Einstein E640, the Nikon D4 at 11 frames a second and the fast flash duration, we were able to get the shot we wanted.  The guys busting out of the stock, which we used with Bruce Tasker crashing out of the ice shards, we would not have been able to get the shots without the combo. The PocketWizard radios never let us down and they work really well with all our gear.


© Simon Mackney


© Simon Mackney

© Simon Mackney


© Simon Mackney

© Simon Mackney


© Simon Mackney

© Simon Mackney


© Simon Mackney

© Simon Mackney


Massive thanks to the Great British Bobsleigh athletes Bruce Tasker, John Jackson “Jacko”, Joel Fearon, and Stuart Benson. We had a great, 13-hour long day shoot with the guys at the fantastic 2,200 square foot, drive-in Darley Abbey Photographic Studios.  The shots were taken by Simon Mackney and then edited by Simon and the Mackney team.”

Additional thanks for the following:
Video: Thom our Assistant
Music: Our good friend Artist: rotary; Title: scientific

And the Mackney Team

Equipment used:
PocketWizard Plus III Transceivers
Paul C. Buff – Einstein E640 to freeze the action and motion
Nikon D4 and Nikon D800E
Capture one, tethered and linked to ipad


PocketWizard radios are distributed in the UK by JP Distribution.

All images, videos, and quotes in this post are used with permission and © Simon Mackney, all rights reserved; story is ©PocketWizard. Please respect and support photographers’ rights. Feel free to link to this blog post, but please do not replicate or repost elsewhere without written permission.

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Jaleel King Defines His Moments

Screen Shot 2014-01-14 at 8.20.01 PMDefining moments are part of life and they typically arrive with little if any warning, and at any time, day or night. Jaleel King’s life-defining moment came to him at the age of eight in the form of an errant shotgun blast that left him in a wheelchair.

Fast-forward about 30 years and Jaleel still faces obstacles, though these days his obstacles have to do with not having the right lens on his camera when he needs it, or not being able to get high or low enough to get the angle just right. In other words, many of the obstacles Jaleel deals with on a workday basis are the same obstacles other photographers regularly deal with… minus the wheelchair.

Jadore Bleu was photographed using  Lighting AB800s in the back on slave with an AB800 with a beauty dish beauty dish as key synced to a PocketWizard FlexTT5  Camera: Canon 40D with PocketWizard MiniTT1.

Jadore Bleu was photographed using AlienBees B800s in the back on slave with an AlienBees B800 with a beauty dish as key synced to a PocketWizard FlexTT5 Transceiver.
Camera: Canon 40D with PocketWizard MiniTT1 radio trigger. © Jaleel King






Jaleel King’s work is a mix of street journalism, weddings, and studio portraiture that are striking to say the least, especially considering his journey to this point in his life. Take a browse through his website or Facebook page and you’ll discover a person who is hasn’t allowed a life-altering incident stop him from pursuing his love of photography. In the studio or in the street, Jaleel King has taken life by the gonads and run with it.

Portraits lit with a PCB - Einstein with a PocketWizard PowerMC2 unit inside of a Wescott 50" Apollo  and two Canon 600EX Speedlites synced to PocketWizard FlexTT5s Camera: Canon EOS 1D MK IV with PocketWizard MiniTT1 and AC3.

Portraits lit with a Paul C. Buff Einstein E640 flash with a PocketWizard PowerMC2 Receiver inside of a Wescott 50″ Apollo and two Canon 600EX Speedlites synced to PocketWizard FlexTT5 Transceivers.
Camera: Canon EOS 1D MK IV with PocketWizard MiniTT1 radio trigger and AC3 ZoneController. © Jaleel King

The idea of wireless flash always appealed to Jaleel King because as he puts it “wheelchairs and cables are a bad mix”. Initially self-taught, for a long time King was unaware of the existence of wireless flash. It wasn’t until he had an opportunity to be on set at a ‘real’ photo shoot that it all came together. For the first time he was able to see how equipment and trained talent can work together to create truly professional photographs. And in his particular case, knowing he could do away with cables – one of the banes of his photographic existence, was all he needed to hear.  From that moment on King knew this is what he wanted to do and nothing would stop him.

KP Morgan

© Jaleel King

Jaleel’s lighting system is a mixed bag. Being a Canon man, his system includes Canon 580EX II & 600EX-RT Speedlites, AlienBees B800s, Einstein E60’s, and an assortment of beauty dishes, reflectors, and umbrellas. Depending on the circumstances, his PocketWizard arsenal includes MiniTT1 Transmitters,  Flex TT5 Transceivers,  PowerMC2 Receivers, and AC3 ZoneControllers.

One of a series of portraits for HelpPortrait_2011. Lighting: Canon 580EXII Speedlites on background with PocketWizard FlexTT5. Main light is an Alien Bee 1600 inside a Wescott 24" Apollo with a PocketWizard FlexTT5 and an AC9. Camera: Canon EOS 1D MK IV with a PocketWizard MiniTT1 and an AC3.

One of a series of portraits for HelpPortrait_2011.
Lighting: Canon 580EX II Speedlites in background with PocketWizard FlexTT5’s. Main light is an AlienBees B1600 inside a Wescott 24″ Apollo with a PocketWizard FlexTT5 Transceiver and an AC9 AlienBees Adapter.
Camera: Canon EOS 1D MK IV with a PocketWizard MiniTT1 Transmitter and an AC3 ZoneController. © Jaleel King

Lamarr was photographed from 'the Rig' using a Lighting AB1600 with a standard reflector coupled to a PocketWizard FlexTT5 and an AC9. His Canon EOS 1D MK IV was coupled to a PocktWizard MiniTT1 and an AC3.

Lamarr was photographed from ‘the Rig’ using a
AlienBees B1600 with a standard reflector coupled to a PocketWizard FlexTT5 Transceiver and an AC9 AlienBees Adapter. His Canon EOS 1D MK IV was coupled to a PocktWizard MiniTT1 Transmitter and an AC3. © Jaleel King


















PocketWizard radios were not Jaleel’s first choice of remote triggers, but it didn’t take long to figure out why the pros all seemed to be using PocketWizards, and these days PocketWizard radios are the only brand he takes on assignment.

‘The RIG’ as Jaleel calls it, is essentially a rolling studio with a compact wireless lighting system Jaleel is currently piecing together. The way Jaleel describes it ” I originally thought it would be uber sweet to have a rolling studio so I can do some unique and experimental street work on my own with a light setup ready to go.

As a means of taking control of the light outdoors as easily as he does in the  studio, Jaleel is currently prototyping his 'Rig", a studio on wheels so-to-speak.

As a means of taking control of the light outdoors as easily as he does in the studio, Jaleel is currently prototyping his ‘Rig”, a studio on wheels so-to-speak. © Jaleel King

“With help from local camera shops, we came up with this Frankenstein contraption that I could attach to my wheelchair. It’s a Manfrotto boom stand with the legs taken off that is attached to my wheelchair with about 4 super clamps and a magic arm. For lighting I was using an AlienBees B1600 with a FlexTT5 Transceiver and an AC9 AlienBees Adapter.  I used an AC3 ZoneController to control the power output from my MiniTT1 Transmitter.  I used a Vagabond Mini to power my strobe.”

The RIG is a work in progress and Jaleel is in the midst of tweaking details having to do with weight distribution and not having enough surface area on the wheelchair to keep it from shifting as he moves about. These are minor issues he hopes to iron out soon and there’s little doubt
he will. Now if only he could figure out how to avoid getting the boom arm stuck in low-hanging branches life would be sweet.


To see more of Jaleel King’s work and/or contact him go to his Facebook page, his website, or email him at

All images, videos, and quotes in this post are used with permission and © Jaleel King, all rights reserved; story is ©PocketWizard. Please respect and support photographers’ rights. Feel free to link to this blog post, but please do not replicate or repost elsewhere without written permission.

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Walter Van Dusen Gets Ready for Hannah’s Big Day

Screen Shot 2014-01-06 at 10.58.47 PMThe contact page of Walter van Dusen’s website features a picture of his daughter with a caption that reads “Every wedding that I photograph is preparing for my daughter Hannah’s wedding. That’s how important your wedding is to me”. And he means it. Some photographers approach weddings as cookie-cutter catalog work. New England-based Walter van Dusen approaches weddings with a passion.

With 20 years as a correction officer under his belt, Walter has the steely nerves required to deal with the heightened emotions and meltdowns that often go hand-in-hand with wedding days. Careful to avoid repetitive grip and grin-ish wedding photography, van Dusen makes a conscious effort to spend up-front time in order to get to know the soon-to-be-married couple, and sometimes their families and significant others in their lives.

Screen Shot 2014-01-06 at 10.58.52 PM (more…)

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What’s up Pussycat? Özkan Özmen goes on a Portrait Safari

IMG_1918 (1)

Özkan Özmen at work

Özkan Özmen is a portrait photographer based in Frankfurt Germany with a penchant for photographing subjects that can bite your head off. No, we’re not talking about models and celebrities with attitude here. We’re talking lions, tigers, and rhinos. As Dorothy famously said to the tin man… “Oh MY!”

According to Özkan, he’s always been into things that crawl, chirp, growl, and purr, and it wasn’t long after he began taking shooting studio portraits for a living that he decided to put together a compact lighting kit and try his luck outside of the comforts and convenience of his studio. Özkan Ozmen’s personal project ultimately took him on a multi-continent journey in which he’s captured wonderful portraits of the sort of wildlife most of us only see in zoo and safari parks, though seldom as in-your-face.

Özkan understood the logistics – not to mention danger involved in trying to capture tight portraits of wild animals using lights. Still and all, rather than being technically boxed in by the harsh ambient lighting conditions common to shooting in the extreme locales he planned on visiting, his goal was to light his subjects and select-focus at wider lens apertures similar to the way he would when shooting portraits in his studio.

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BTS: Brandon Lyon & Pentatonix

Hello, my name is Brandon Lyon, I am a commercial portrait and fashion photographer. I work out of Dallas, Texas and I am excited to write my first article for the PocketWizard Blog. I grew up as an only child so I mostly lived inside my imagination, creating stories and characters to entertain me. I also really enjoyed reading. I craved the feeling of falling into a book for hours on end and losing yourself to a different time and place. We didn’t travel much so this was how I got away. I particularly loved science fiction and fantasy. The world was what you wanted it to be, and the rules could be different.

I wanted to share a recent project I shot for the musical group Pentatonix. They are an a cappella group of five vocalists that gained success after winning season three of NBC’s The Sing-Off and are currently dominating YouTube and the world with their fresh and unique arrangements of mainstream music from pop to hip-hop and electronic music.

Photo: © Brandon Lyon

Photo: © Brandon Lyon


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Magnus Bogucki’s Wedding in a Castle

© Magnus Bogucki

© Magnus Bogucki

“Wedding photography,” says Swiss photographer Magnus Bogucki, “is no longer my passion – but my lifestyle. Every wedding is unique and having the opportunity to capture and “tell” the unique story is what I truly love.”

At a wedding he was covering at the Castello di Morcote, outside of Lugano, Magnus wanted to make the most of the scenic location for a portrait of the bride and groom. He says, “This couple came from Las Vegas to get married in Switzerland so I wanted to create a photo where the couple enjoyed some time for themselves and soaked in the environment around them.”


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Brett Warren’s Porcelain Fashion

© Brett Warren

© Brett Warren

Brett Warren is a Nashville based photographer whose work is at once charming, beautiful, and rich with details that really tell a story. He was recently profiled in Native Magazine and he shot a series especially for them, inspired by the theme of the issue, green and sustainability.

He writes:

I had wanted to shoot a story inspired by the porcelain figurines that you find at thrift stores, or your grandparent’s curio cabinets, for some time. As far as technique goes, I wanted to be sure and illuminate the girl’s skin to create a shiny highlight that could be translated as porcelain.

I used my trusty PocketWizard Plus II atop my camera to communicate with the built in PocketWizard on my Profoto AcuteB2 kit. It always communicates instantly, and makes for an easy-going shoot with perfect lighting every time. I let the sun flood the back of her head, and filled the front with directional strobe light for an ethereal feel.


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